The Imo State Government has refuted reports of the closure of Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe University, Ogboko, saying the institution could not be shut down by an unauthorized person.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, formerly known as Eastern Palm University, Prof Tola Badejo, had on Monday, April 26, announced the closure, citing ownership crisis rocking it.
But the state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha urged members of the public to disregard the purported closure of the institution.
In a statement, Prof Ikegwuoha urged all members of staff, students and lecturers to go about their normal and legitimate academic activities.
He reiterated that the Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe University is the second Imo State Government-owned university as attested to by the National Universities Commission (NUC) on its website.
The Commissioner dismissed report claiming there was a subsisting court order against the state government in respect of the ownership of the institution.
The statement reads in part:
“It has come to the notice of Imo State Government that an unauthorised and unknown person has issued a press release suspending all academic activities at the Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe University (formerly Eastern Palm University) Ogboko, Ideato South Local Government Area, for the 2020/2021 academic session.
“All staff, students, parents, guardians, stakeholders and the general public are advised to disregard such illegal, unauthorised and unlawful press release and go about their normal and legitimate academic activities.
“By this press release, members of the public are informed that: Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe University, Ogboko, Ideato South Local Government Area is the 2nd Imo State University as can be duly verified at the website of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Abuja
“There is no court order or judgement against Imo State Government on the ownership of Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe University, Ogboko, Ideato South Local Government Area.
Continuing, the release states that, “For the avoidance of all doubts, let it be stated here that nobody, no matter how highly placed in the society can test the resolve of Imo State Government in providing quality, functional, accessible education, including, but not limited to providing conducive teaching and learning environment, improve academic standard and maintain uninterrupted academic calendar for the purpose of graduating all students as and when due. This resolve of Imo State Government cannot be compromised”.
The Imo State House of Assembly, in 2019, repealed the law establishing the Eastern Palm University and passed a bill renaming the institution “Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe University, Ogboko”.
Former governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha, who is now a Senator, is however laying claims that the Eastern Palm University is jointly owned by the Imo State Government and Rochas Okorocha Foundation, which is owned by him.